Milan — Italy’s Antimonopoly Observer Thursday, one of the biggest penalties imposed on US high-tech giants in Europe, gave Amazon $ 1.13 billion (1.28 million) on suspicion of abuse of market power. He said he had fined $ 10,000.
Amazon “strongly opposes” the Italian regulatory decision and said it would appeal.
Global regulatory oversight of tech giants is increasing following a series of scandals over privacy and misinformation, and complaints from some companies that they are abusing market power.
In addition to Amazon, Alphabet’s Google, Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., and Microsoft Corp. are closely monitored in Europe.
Italy’s Watchdog said in a statement that Amazon is a market intermediary service to support the adoption of its own logistics service, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), by sellers operating on Amazon.it. He said he took advantage of his dominant position in the Italian market.
According to authorities, Amazon has been linked to the use of FBA access to a range of exclusive perks, including the Prime label, that help raise awareness and increase sales on Amazon.it.
“Amazon prevents third-party sellers from associating Prime labels with offers that are not managed by FBA,” he said.
Prime Labels facilitates the sale of Amazon’s loyalty program to over 7 million most loyal and expensive consumer members.
Antitrust authorities also said they would impose corrective actions subject to review by monitoring trustees.
Amazon said the FBA is a “fully optional service” and the majority of Amazon’s third-party sellers do not use it.
“When sellers choose FBA, they do so because it is price-efficient, convenient, and competitive,” the US group said in a statement.
“The proposed fines and remedies are unreasonable and disproportionate,” he added.
The EU Commission said it worked closely with the Italian competition authorities on this case within the framework of the European Competition Network to ensure consistency with two ongoing investigations into Amazon’s business practices.
The first, which opened in July 2019, evaluated whether Amazon’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers selling in its market violated EU competition rules.
The second focused on the possibility of incentives for marketplace sellers using Amazon’s own retail offers and Amazon’s logistics and shipping services in late 2020.
“This study complements today’s decision of the Italian competition authorities to address Amazon’s actions in the Italian logistics market,” the Commission said Thursday.
($ 1 = 0.8832 euros)
By Elvira Pollina and Maria Pia Quaglia